Beth Revis wrote her first books as a student in classrooms, when the professors at NC State University did not hold her interest and she jotted down stories instead of taking notes. Currently a teacher herself, Beth tries to make her classes a bit more entertaining as she explores Greek gods, samurais, and epic poetry with her high school World Literature students. In addition to pointing out dramatic irony in Oedipus Rex to a gaggle of sixteen-year-olds, Beth also writes science fiction and fantasy novels for teens. Her debut novel, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, will be published by Razorbill/Penguin in Spring 2011. Beth is represented by Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House.
I totally stole that bio from her website, where you can check out more info on Beth and her writing. After reading that, how can you not want Beth as a teacher?
She's here today to take part in my Author Review feature, where YA authors review a YA book of their choosing. Any interested authors can feel free to email me.
Everything below this linebreak are the words of Beth Revis.
Lips Touch by Laina Taylor
Up until last year, I was a high school world literature teacher. Every semester, I forced my students to watch SCHINDLER’S LIST. Most of them had never heard of the movie—after all, for the past few years, the movie came out before they were born (feel old yet?). When I told them it was black and white, about three hours long, and the movie doesn’t show violence for the first hour, they groaned in disappointment.
Then they saw it.
Usually within the first half hour, every kid is on the edge of his seat. By the end, it’s not unusual for some of them to cry. Every semester, some kids went out and purchased the DVD. Most said it was the favorite thing they did all semester.
I liken my students’ experiences with SCHINDLER’S LIST to my experience with LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES by Laini Taylor.
Like my students, I thought I would hate it. The cover looked classy—which translated to “boring” in my mind. The much-hyped illustrations were two-toned (like the black-and-white SCHINDLER’S LIST), and the triumvirate of stories seemed long (like the three hour movie).
And, like my students, after the first story, I was on the edge of my seat. By the end, I was crying. After, I went out and bought extra copies to give to friends. It’s been one of my favorite books I’ve read all year.
What makes this book awesome? It’s a combination of several things. First, the stories are just…delicious. The first story, “Goblin’s Fruit,” follows Kizzy, a girl who knows there is danger, and who just doesn’t care. It’s rare for me to like a character who disregards warnings, but in this case…I sort of wanted her to taste that forbidden fruit.
Then there’s “Spicy Little Curses Such as These,” which has one of the best titles ever written. I loved the exotic Indian setting, but more than that I loved the dilemma the side character, Anamique, was faced with. It’s rare for me to like a side character more than a main character, but I was fascinated with the problem presented to her, and the way in which she dealt with it.
LIPS TOUCH concludes with “Hatchling,” the longest of the stories. “Hatchling” wandered around, meandered over flashbacks and histories and magic and religion. There are eyes changing colors (and being plucked out), a controlling and abusive Queen, and so many layers that you have to peel them back like the skin of an orange. It’s rare for me to like a story just because it’s beautifully written…but, well, I think you’ve figured out by now how rare of a book LIPS TOUCH really is.
This review would be remiss if I didn’t mention the illustrations. Because no matter how good the stories were…the illustrations made them better. It took me awhile to figure out the connection the illustrations had to the stories (much like it takes my students time to discover the importance of color in SCHINDER’S LIST). The stories are framed by the illustrations—rather than telling the backstory, it’s drawn. Even sweeter, though, is the final drawing at the end of each story. Laini ends the stories on a lyrical note—the final illustration draws that note out into a crescendo and then silence.
The kind of silence you hear at the end of a really good movie, when every student sits back in his or her desk and sighs.